Self-organized magnetic particles to tune the mechanical behavior of a granular system

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© 2016, EPLA.Above a certain density a granular material jams. This property can be controlled by either tuning a global property, such as the packing fraction or by applying shear strain, or at the micro-scale by tuning grain shape, inter-particle friction or externally controlled organization. Here, we introduce a novel way to change a local granular property by adding a weak anisotropic magnetic interaction between particles. We measure the evolution of the pressure, P, and coordination number, Z, for a packing of 2D photo-elastic disks, subject to uniaxial compression. A fraction R m of the particles have embedded cuboidal magnets. The strength of the magnetic interactions between particles is too weak to have a strong direct effect on P or Z when the system is jammed. However, the magnetic interactions play an important role in the evolution of latent force networks when systems containing a large enough fraction of the particles with magnets are driven through unjammed to jammed states. In this case, a statistically stable network of magnetic chains self-organizes before jamming and overlaps with force chains once jamming occurs, strengthening the granular medium. This property opens a novel way to control mechanical properties of granular materials.






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Cox, M, D Wang, J Barés and RP Behringer (2016). Self-organized magnetic particles to tune the mechanical behavior of a granular system. EPL, 115(6). 10.1209/0295-5075/115/64003 Retrieved from

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